West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 71 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2024

Xmas Trail Ride 2011

Words: Huw Watkins and Anth Moore

Huw Sums it up

8-2 (+3) -1 (-3) = X (X equals two days one evening's excellent entertainment)

I am not a mathematician, but the equation above relates to the 8 trail riders who set out on the pre-NYE trail run to Penybont. The run was organised by Rod who provided an excellent map book for us all, and showed us the way!! I joined the 7 at Llanvihangel Crucorney, where the happy band of Anth and Drew, Pete and Matt, Mike, Rod and Keith arrived, having done some lanes from Monmouth. There were chuckles and giggles as Keith's momentary lapse nearly saw a rear ender, and a near miss at a road crossing near Bryn-y-Gwenin for Rod livened things up!

Setting off towards the Grwyne Fawr, the CRF (x2) WR250 (x2) KTM 450 and CCM were led by one of two GG Randonnes (or as Mike calls them - 'Random' - explanation later) which are the very light 125s the Anth is selling. A turn around the lanes saw us at the track over the Grwne Fawr, where an unusually talkative walker was fascinated by Mike's new Go Pro helmet Cam.

Matt and Pete swapped bikes for the descent towards Hay, and Pete felt he got the worst of the deal riding the big CCM! The minus 2 part of the equation was when the Neale brothers left for home from the bottom of the track (apparently cheap red wine is not recommended by Pete). The remaining six dropped into Glasbury for a coffee, then set off up towards Painscastle via some good lanes. Some 6 weeks ago, Keith and I were out with some mates, and a friend of theirs (known as Trigger - more to do with 'only fools' than Roy Rogers) dropped a wallet on a trickly mud covered lane, then walked back 3/4 of a mile and found it!! This lane is now known to us as 'Trigger's lane'. Half way along, there is a narrow spot where roots cause a few problems! Mike watched Keith spinning the back wheel on one commenting "those rev limiters don't normally let the bike go to 34,000!"

A pause at the top of the lane for us all to catch our breaths before a misty lap of the Begwns moors brought us back to a spot where we were to remain for a while !! Arriving at the end of a lane, Rod stopped his Randonne to check his maps. To everyone's surprise the starter motor chugged the little bike forward into the middle of the lane. Clutch in, pull bike back, ignition off, clutch out bike chugs forward again into the lane cue much laughter!! At this point the steam coming off the bike started to smell suspiciously smoky! At this point the Gas-Gas dealer backup went to a new level as Anth began a sequence of emotions as the little Random was pulled apart to identify and isolate the problem!

Initial curiosity went to panic, then frustration as the disassembly went slower than hoped. After this came annoyance that it appeared that a solenoid was at fault, followed by relief as he bump started the GG back into life. The interested bystanders queried where the kick start levers were, to be told; "We decided they would never be needed so they are on the shelf at the shop!"

By the time the bike was reassembled, we'd lost all hope of following Rod's meticulously planned route. Option B was for me to take the lead and get us to New Radnor ASAP. We swung back over the Begwns before dropping down to the Painscastle road. At the gate, I was surprised that the other 5 were nowhere in sight. Looking back up the hill I saw Keith picking his bike up. A moment or two later, we gathered at the gate to hear the tale of how Keith planned to jump off a track, only to let go of his handlebar with his left hand. He's a good rider, but no Travis Pastrana, so the trip over the bars was inevitable!

Anth's follow on.

To continue from Huw, I was initially impressed with the hand guard repair on Keith's WR after his "get off" until he pointed out that I was looking at Huw's handlebars! We were well on the way to notching up our first day's 100 miles by now, and Mike, Drew and me decided that a trip to Crossgates Jetwash was sensible (to clean us not the bikes). The Randonne's rear mudguard proved a bit narrow for the sloppy lanes, and when the cashier suggested I concentrate on myself rather than the bike, it hit home that I was completely covered in top quality Welsh mud!

Mike and Drew had already started (it took coins not tokens) but Mike had gone for the "Hot Wax" by mistake and by the time I'd put my goggles on in preparation, the foam party was already underway!

Clean but wet, we deposited our gear in the safe hands of Tracy at the Severn Arms for drying room treatment (all part of the top service). A few beers and some top nosh later, and before we knew it it was time to set off on the return journey. It feels so good putting warm dry kit on having taken it off soaking wet the night before, or so I'm told as all my kit some how got missed by a mortified Landlady and was still festering in the bin liner I'd put it in the night before! At least I was in good company and no one would mention it for the rest of the day - much.

The return journey began and in no time at all Huw was leading with the entire route programmed in his GPS equipped head, and we did lane after lane of top trails back to the Glasbury fuel, coffee and pasty stop. The GasGas was returning 75mpg so 2.5 ltrs brought it back to the brim leaving a few pounds spare for jet washing kit again at the end!

We don't do so much trail riding these days as it's too easy getting on a mountain bike, but this was a reminder of what we've been missing! Many thanks to Rod for all the preparation of the route, Huw for his local knowledge, Angela for carrying our overnight kit and everyone else for company and banter!